Allyson Schwartz

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Allyson Schwartz
Allyson Schwartz official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 13th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Joe Hoeffel
Succeeded by Brendan Boyle
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 4th district
In office
January 1, 1991 – January 4, 2005[1]
Preceded by Joe Rocks
Succeeded by LeAnna Washington
Personal details
Born Allyson Young
(1948-10-03) October 3, 1948 (age 72)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) David Schwartz
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1990-2004)
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania (2004-present)
Alma mater Simmons College
Bryn Mawr College
Religion Judaism
Website Campaign website

Allyson Young Schwartz (born October 3, 1948) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, serving from 2005-2015. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district included parts of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia. She was also National Chair for Recruitment and Candidate Services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the 2014 election, Schwartz was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania, but was defeated in the primary.

Early life, education, and health care career

Schwartz was born Allyson Young in Queens, New York, to Everett and Renee (née Perl) Young. Her mother left Vienna in 1938 after Germany annexed Austria, and came to the United States, where she settled at a Jewish foster home in Philadelphia. Her father was a dentist in Flushing, Queens, and a veteran of the Korean War. She has a brother, Neal, and two sisters, Nancy and Dale.[2] Schwartz graduated from the Calhoun School, on the Upper West Side of New York City, in 1966 and then enrolled at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Simmons in 1970, as well as a Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1972.

She worked as assistant director of the Philadelphia Health Services Department from 1972 to 1975, and executive director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia, from 1975 to 1988.

Pennsylvania Senate


In 1990, Schwartz ran for Pennsylvania's 4th senate seat, based in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia. She won the Democratic primary with 50% of the vote, defeating Jeff Blum (28%) and Robert Blasi (22%).[3] In the general election, Schwartz defeated incumbent Republican State Senator Joe Rocks 58%-42%.[4]

Redistricting pushed Schwartz's seat into Montgomery County. In 1994, she won re-election to a second term by defeating Republican Tom Scott 82%-18%.[5] In 1998, she won re-election to a third term unopposed.[6] In 2002, she won re-election to a fourth term defeating Republican Ron Holt, the Montgomery County Register of Wills, 82%-18%.[7]


During her first term, Schwartz led Pennsylvania’s legislative efforts to provide health care coverage to the children of middle-class families, leading to the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1992. CHIP served as the model for the federal plan that now provides health insurance to millions of children.[8]

In a 2002 PoliticsPA feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, she was named the "Best Dressed," to which she responded "I appreciate the must be the scarves."[9]

Committee assignments

2000 U.S. Senate election

In 2000, she decided to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. Pittsburgh-area U.S. Congressman Ron Klink won the crowded, six-candidate Democratic primary with a plurality of 41% of the vote. Schwartz ranked second with 27% of the vote, dominating the southeastern part of the state, most notably Philadelphia (60%) and Montgomery (62%) counties. She also won two counties outside of the region: Centre (33%) and Union (38%). However, this was not enough to overcome Klink's dominance in the western part of the state.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives



In 2003, Democratic U.S. Congressman Joe Hoeffel, of Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, decided not to run for a fourth term, in order to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Schwartz had originally planned to run for Auditor General, but changed her plans after Hoeffel's announcement. In early 2004, she moved from Philadelphia to Jenkintown in Montgomery County, where she still lives today. She won the Democratic primary, narrowly defeating former Philadelphia deputy mayor and National Constitution Center director Joe Torsella 52%-48%. She won 62% of Montgomery while Torsella won 57% of Philadelphia.[14] While most former state legislators raise comparatively more money through PACs than individual donations, she raised $4,597,032[15] from individual donations and comparatively little ($558,376) in PAC donations. The 13th had long been reckoned as a classic Northeastern "Yankee Republican" district, but had become increasingly Democratic in recent years. A Republican presidential candidate hasn't carried it since 1988, and it has been in Democratic hands for all but four years since 1993. In the general election, she defeated Republican Melissa Brown 56%-41%, winning both counties.[16]


Schwartz won re-election to a second term, defeating Raj Bhakta, a contestant on the The Apprentice 2, 66%-34%.[17]


Schwartz won re-election to a third term, defeating Republican attorney Marina Kats, 63%-35%.[18]


Schwartz won re-election to a fourth term, defeating businessman Dee Adcock 56%-44%. Her 12-point margin was the smallest in her congressional career.[19]


After redistricting, Schwartz's district was given a heavier Democratic tilt, with 52% of the district based in Philadelphia county. She won re-election to a fifth term, defeating Republican Joe Rooney 69%-31%.[20][21]


Schwartz was a member of the New Democrat Coalition and was the chair of the New Democrat Coalition Taskforce on Health. In this position, she had actively pushed for the greater use of interoperable and secure electronic prescribing systems throughout the country in an attempt to decrease medical errors as well as costs and liability to providers, health systems and patients. In January 2014, Schwartz resigned from the taskforce chairmanship in the New Democratic Coalition.

Schwartz was the first Democratic member of the House of Representatives to call for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign following his photo scandal.[22]

Representative Schwartz voted against the Amash amendment to limit NSA surveillance activities.


Schwartz is pro-choice, and in 2011 received a 100% rating from NARAL.[23] She voted twice against Republican-led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and supported legislation requiring hospitals to provide emergency abortion care to women who could die without it.

Health care

Schwartz is known as one of the leading health care experts in government.[24] She authored several key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including increasing access to primary care, banning pre-existing conditions exclusions and allowing young adults to remain on their parent’s health coverage.[2][24]


The first piece of legislation Schwartz introduced after being elected to Congress focused on providing tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed veterans. The bill was signed into law in 2007. In 2011, Schwartz introduced the Hiring Our Veterans Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in November of that year.[25] The Hiring Our Veterans Act increased the tax credit for employers that hire veterans with a service connected disability who have been unemployed for six months or more, veterans who have been unemployed for at least four weeks, and veterans, not necessarily with disability, who have been unemployed for at least six months.

In 2012, Schwartz introduced the Servicemembers' Access to Justice Act to improve the enforcement of Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.[26] Schwartz was backed by Senator Bob Casey, who introduced this legislation in the Senate on May 23, 2012 (Schwartz, 2012).

Committee assignments

Prior to 2013 she was also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and prior to 2014 she was the Vice-Ranking Member of the Committee on the Budget.

2014 gubernatorial election

Schwartz announced her intention to give up her House seat to challenge incumbent Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who is up for re-election in 2014.[27] On April 8, 2013, Schwartz officially launched her campaign.[28] In February 2013, Schwartz stated that she would not run for re-election for the United States House of Representatives.[29] Ultimately, she was defeated by Tom Wolf in the Democratic primary.[30]

Personal life

Schwartz is married to Dr. David Schwartz, a cardiologist, and they live in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. They have two adult sons, Daniel and Jordan.[2]


  1. "Session of 2005 – 189th of the General Assembly – No. 1" (PDF). Legislative Journal. Pennsylvania Senate. 2005-01-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. "Lawmakers Ok Charter Schools". Philadelphia Daily News. 12 June 1997.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Senate Panel OKs Charter School Bill Measure Varies from Version Now in House". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 3 June 1997.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  15. Pennsylvania Congressional Races in 2008
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  20. "Our Campaigns - PA - District 13 Race - Nov 06, 2012".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Di Domizio, Tony (6 November 2012). "Schwartz Wins Fifth Term in 13th Congressional District". Upmoorland Patch. Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Jackson, Jill. "First House Democrat calls for Weiner to step down". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc. Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Rep. Allyson Schwartz". NARAL Pro-Choice America. Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1 Jick, Jeremy (12 November 2012). "Rep. Allyson Schwartz leads Affordable Care Act discussion". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Biography of Allyson Y. Schwartz". Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "H.R.6015 - Servicemembers Access to Justice Act of 2012". OpenCongress. Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Baer, John (February 25, 2013). "John Baer: Allyson Schwartz admits her interest in Pa. governor's race". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved February 25, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Camia, Catalina (April 9, 2013). "Dem Rep. Schwartz jumps into Pa. governor's race". USA Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Baer, John (February 26, 2013). "Allyson Schwartz admits her interest in Pa. governor's race". Philadelphia Daily News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Foster, Brittany (20 May 2014). "PA-Gov: Wolf Wins Democratic Nomination". PoliticsPA. Retrieved 21 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Berkman, Michael, and James Eisenstein. “State Legislators as Candidates: The Effects of Prior Experience on Legislative Behavior and Fundraising,” Political Science Quarterly, 52, no. 3 (1999): 481–498.

External links

Media related to Allyson Schwartz at Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Joe Rocks
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 4th district

Succeeded by
LeAnna Washington
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe Hoeffel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Brendan Boyle